Sunday, 29 January 2017

SHADOWS OF SUNSET

 


I love to sit at a high place, a high place in the open air, high enough to have nothing obstruct my view of the setting sun. The sun, red like a blood shot eye, retiring beneath the horizon is my favorite nature's picture. Often there are birds in their thousands swarming from one to another end of the sky. Everything else is still, like death, and the scene speaks of an end, the end of daylight and daytime. I love the scene, I love the shadow that is stretched behind me, that rises with me, walks with me, talks with me with a voice lost in mine, that is with me so long as there is light to cast it; only light can cast a shadow off an obstacle, and only illumination can make an impact in the face of bulwarks. We do or get undone by what we know or do not know. So, we rise in the dawn of our lives, and strive to cast a shadow off the golden morning sun, to make impact upon society, to leave legacies, shadows upon homes, upon institutions, upon literature, and upon religion. We cast shadows of mountains upon valleys, shadows of oars upon silent seas, shadows of kings upon subjects and masters upon slaves. 
   We rush to meet up with dusk, when we have lost strength from going around and casting shadows along our paths. Of course the sun will certainly set on our time here. And everyone wants to sit on some place very high to watch his sun set, to take a selfie with nature's favorite picture, and to cast a long shadow downhill upon which climbers will take shade. We shall all die someday, but while we live, while we climb uphill, I enjoy watching the sunset. At evening it will set again and I won't watch alone.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

OF JUDAS AND THE QUESTION OF FATALISM



   At certain times in my life when effort submits to the preponderance of fate, when knowledge, planning, and enlightened execution squirms back at the bulwarks of failures, then I sense the petulant arrogance of nature in asserting, nay reminding us of our incompleteness in determining the twists and turns of our lives.
   Among philosophers the doctrine of metaphysical determinism or fatalism even, tends to oppose the concept of freedom and the will. If a man was predetermined by heaven to follow a particular path, why should guilt be pinned on him and justice levied. The Apostle Paul echoes this sentiment in Romans 9:19, 'You will then ask "Why does He find fault? Who has resisted his will?"' Before Esau and Jacob were even born, God had determined that the older would serve the younger, so, no matter how much we try to demonize Esau for selling his birthright, heaven had decided his matter even before the midwife said 'PUSH!'. Time will not allow for a detailed look into Pharaoh's hardened heart and of the lying prophets who opposed Mordecaia, but truth is sometimes I see life as a divine chess game; our kings are kings, our queens are queens, our bishops are bishops, and the rest of us are mere pawns.
   Now, in the story of Jesus, I believe it was predetermined that he would be born in Bethlehem, of a virgin, betrayed by a disciple, a role of which Judas had the misfortune of being chosen-yes chosen- to play. If determinism/fatalism were to be heaven's little secret, then there is no margin for praising heroes and condemning villains since all their decisions and moves were predetermined by God, human history being a progression from creation to eternal judgement, and men acting out their scripts in the divine comedy.
   Now answering this question opens the door to even more complex questions, however, the clause in the philosopher's job does not oblige him to provide answers to life's questions, it allows him the liberty to ask more questions.
   Firstly, Jesus came to die for the world, and whoever served as the means to that end should be seen as the true hero- not Peter who opposed at every mention the death of Jesus.
   Secondly, if we are to extrapolate from earlier trends, of Pharaoh's hardened heart and Esau's birthright, Judas was an unfortunate actor of life's script and thus I wonder if he really had a choice, a choice not to fulfil the purpose which I believe he was predetermined to fulfil.
   Thirdly, do we curse or do we bless Judas? If he had not experimented that high treason, the Romans would not have crucified Jesus, and Jesus would not have died FOR US.
   While the argument of determinism and freedom and the will rages on, I wonder if I have justified a traitor, I won't say I haven't and maybe you can't say I have.

#Determinism vs #freewill.

Monday, 23 January 2017

A MAN OF FIVE LIVES




 It was a typical evening in Benin City; opulent streets illuminated and livened by the light and sound of revelry. Cars, with lit headlamps wheezed within spurs of ease in the traffic. I engaged my eyes with every action, from the clumsy and insipid to the frantic and vivacious; it had been a very emotional weekend and I was trying to distract myself from a heartbreak, though not in every sense of the word.
  Paaaaaaah! Gbaam!! The fall of a young man (a ruffian by every visible detail) who was trying to leap unto the carriage of a moving pickup van interrupted everything. There was a clatter in the bus in which I journeyed, almost everyone had something to say about that hilarious attempt at bravery. But in all, a comment wrenched my thoughts into an entirely new channel, and of this I write tonight.
  A young man had, in adding to the amusement, asked rhetorically what it would look like if we each had five lives, and expended each in a lifetime till all five were finished, just like in video games where you keep playing until you have lost all your 'lives', and then the GAME OVER. I now stretch the scene, imagine you had the capacity to live five times on this earth at the end of which God's judgement would consider only the details of the last lifetime, the simple question is what would be your values during the first four lifetimes? I imagine I might choose to pursue money through legal or illegal means, chase after girls endlessly, cut corners, rob a bank when I felt like, get high on drugs, be a rap artist, a gangster, be a football agent, try my hands on kickboxing, and retire to the casino every evening during the first four lives; who cares if I sinned when there would be no judgement for the four lives. But on the day I show up for the fifth life I would certainly surrender to God, and lead the rest of the fifth life in the fear of God.
  But, back to reality, truth is our lives have always been one bar, and there is no recharging of batteries when it's battery empty. Imagining what we'd do with a fictional four unaccountable lives might not do much but it would help us assay the sincerity of our hearts or motives in the values we hold in this only life (after which there is a judgement). The life you and I lead today would we lead the same if there was no judgement, no hell, no heaven, no reward and no punishment? If Christ, for example, would we find him worthy enough a cause to pursue in the first four 'bonus' lifetimes, where no judgement awaited us? If holiness, if purity, if integrity, if discipline, would we find them worthy enough causes to pursue if God didn't care, if there was no present or eternal consequence? If there was no present or eternal consequence of sin, how many of us would still not sin.
  Think about this.


Sunday, 22 January 2017

WE WERE KIDS





  There were days we smiled at the setting sun, sunk our feet in wet sand and made mounds upon them. We answered 'chi efo!' to the rooster's 'kokorokoo', waved at flying kites to send 'mbo ocha' into our nail plates. Yes, we understood a connection to nature, pure and undefiled by what we would soon call 'maturity'.
   Then we wondered why parents would give no protest when the cock mounted the hen, why we had to go to school, why we had lived too long and yet were still too young. Our minds were empty of strife, soon to learn war, and pride, and we asked questions which we would later consider 'immature'.
   We built toys, chased after rolling tyres, celebrated the rain with a bath under the open heavens, cried our voices hoarse at the sound of masquerades. We rolled on the mud, danced in the rain, burnt with the fire, shone with the sun and the stars, flew in the air, floated on the waters, and were one with nature.
  Tragedy struck when male voices cracked, and shoulders broadened. With keen interest, we saw the girls adding more flesh to the front and back, and took notice. We slept and awoke to the fact that we were growing.
   We learnt of puberty, of social stratification and the separation of classes, we learnt to walk with a proud look, our noses in the air, a smug smile at the lower classes-whom we were taught were the filth and scum of the earth.
   We feigned maturity, playing less, we forgot the rooster, the kite, the wet soil, the beautiful rain, the setting sun. We hated more, strived more, tantrums and vituperations marked our lives. Too mean, too serious, and too careful, we had to protect our sensitive selves from one another.
  Then we hugged, now we mock. Then we ate, now we hate. Then we rubbed our backs, now we stab them. And like a friend said, then we prayed before eating, now we take selfies.

I can still hear the Master's call...let the little children come unto me.